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Nail the Look: Desert Modern

A little bit midcentury, a touch bohemian, and a whole lot of warm Southwest texture and textiles makes up this popular look. If your dream home is a cool adobe in Joshua Tree with a pottery studio out back, you’re in the right place. Read on for interior inspiration and practical get-the-look tips to bring desert modern style home, no matter where you live.


Emily Henderson

Furniture: This is where the modern in desert modern comes in. Think vintage mid-century modern pieces in warm wood tones, like the bookshelf shown here. Sofas and chairs with simple, straight shapes work well, as do campaign furniture (like the folding leather stool seen here) and woven pieces.

Accessories: A few small accent pieces can go a long way towards creating a great desert modern look. Poke around in thrift shops, mineral stores, and antique fairs for hunks of crystal, cool rocks, and vintage pottery. Use your finds to perk up bookshelves, hold down a stack of papers on your desk, or add interest to your coffee table.


Design Sponge

Textiles: Bring warmth to simple, clean-lined modern pieces (like the sofa and pendant light shown here) with rich, colorful, southwest-inspired textiles. A great big rug in the living room is a great way to ground the space and set the color palette.


Style Me Pretty

Lighten up: What sets desert modern style apart from straight-up southwest or desert style is a lighter touch. Instead of bringing in lots of heavy, rustic wood furniture and painting the walls in earth tones, lighten things up with airy wire furniture legs, crisp white walls, and delicate vases of flowers.


Apartment Therapy

Cultivate your desert garden: Thankfully, cacti and succulents make excellent houseplants no matter where you live! Bring in little terracotta or handmade pots and fill them with a variety of cacti to create your own mini-southwestern indoor garden. Don’t have a green thumb? Consider picking up an art print or photo featuring desert-inspired plant motifs instead.

Desert Modern Rug Shopping Guide (clockwise from top left): Surya Scion Tribal rug; Safavieh Aspen rug; Rizzy Home Tumble Weed Loft rug; Nourison Tribal Decor rug in red.

For more inspiration from Laura, follow along with her at LauraGaskill.com!

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Blissful Blue Decor

Domino

If you’re looking for a color trend that’s stood the test of time and then some, look no further than blue. From indigo to periwinkle this hue has never shown a sign of slowing down in popularity and it’s easy to see why. Not only is blue considered the most relaxing color on the spectrum, it also has the ability to ground a space and is a great way for colorphobes to experiment. A piece of art or furniture is a great way to introduce something fresh into your decor because both are fairly non-committal and can be resold if you end up unhappy.

This take on everyone’s favorite tile, subway, gives the standby new life in a soft baby blue. The pastel hue manages to work in both a classic decor scheme as well as modern thanks to the subtle gradient present in the patterning. Can’t you just imagine wanting to cook so many meals in this kitchen because it looks so relaxing and welcoming?

I’d definitely use those baby blue subway tiles in a bathroom as well, but these square patterned ones offer so much when paired with the stark white vanity and accompanying shower tiles. This is definitely a situation of using pattern as art – there’s no way you’d want to cover up or bring in anything that might want to compete with these beautifully intricate pieces.

Smoky blue is such an unexpected hue for the kitchen, and that’s the biggest reason I’m loving it. By using such a soft accent color to all of the natural tones in this space, the designer managed to show off the warmth present in the woodgrain and bricks as well as the brightness of all that white. One of my favorite unexpected touches is the blue on that island facade!

If you’re all in on blue, this space has your name on it. Walls, ceiling, doors, mouldings – all the same, gorgeous shade of the most perfect blue. It feels like a slightly softer take on the currently popular all-black room, offering a sense of depth and sophistication that’s magnetic. If you’re looking to diversify and add something relaxing and blue to your space, another fantastic way is to bring in a floor rug like the ones below.

Blue Rugs

For more inspiration from Kelly, follow along with her at Design Crush!

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Design Tips for Renting Out Your Space

Whether you’re planning to rent out your space while you travel, or are thinking of turning that spare room or backyard cottage into an Airbnb, there is a lot to consider before you put up your listing. From taking great photos to designing with guests in mind, here are a few foolproof tips for making your space stand out.

Airbnb

Assess what your place has going for it. Do you live near the beach, a great farmer’s market, or a cool bike path? Play up your neighborhood’s features in the decor by choosing local art or photography for the walls, and a color scheme that reflects your unique location. In the Southern California Airbnb shown above, the owners chose a poolside photo print, trendy blue animal print rug, and sleek, modern furniture for a sunny LA look.

Take great photos. When you’re ready to photograph your space, choose a sunny day and take pictures of each room when natural light is at its best. Open up window treatments wide, turn on the lights, and check to make your you’ve cleared any personal items out of the shot. Straight-on shots (like the one above) tend to look better than photos shot at an angle — if you have a tripod, set your camera on it and adjust the position until it looks just right. Then, click away!

Design Tip: One big framed photo makes a bigger impact than a salon-style gallery wall of smaller pieces … and it costs less, too!

Airbnb3

Declutter. Before welcoming visitors into your home, you’ll need to pare back your personal items and excess belongings so that your space feels fresh and inviting. Useful items like basic cookware and dishes should stay. But the family pictures, plastic cups, and laundry baskets full of clothes have got to go. In the kitchen, any items left out should be functional, beautiful, or both.

Protect your valuables. It can help to dedicate one lockable closet or storage area for storing your personal items and valuables before you open up your home to short-term renters. Of course, you may get so used to enjoying your space without all of that extra clutter that you decide to get rid of it for good!

Design Tip: Splurge on a set of handmade mugs from Etsy or a local shop, plus a French press or pour-over coffee maker. These little items won’t set you back too much, and they look great in photos advertising your rental!

Airbnb2

Go for budget-friendly decor. Presenting a space that’s really clean and clutter-free is way more important than spending a lot on decor. In fact, it’s important to keep in mind that occasionally guests may damage some of your belongings — so choosing budget-friendly pieces that you can replace as needed is a smart move. Floors especially can get a lot of wear-and-tear, so roll up the fancy rugs and opt for a simple natural fiber or flat-woven cotton instead.

Design Tip: Plants make any space look more complete. Potted cacti and succulents are ideal for a short-term rental, because they are easy to care for, and look hip. Cluster a few tiny pots on the coffee table, and put one bigger plant in a sunny window.

Pamper Guests

Pamper guests with little luxuries. So often, it’s the little things that leave the biggest impression. Leave guests with little treats in each room — fresh flowers on the kitchen table, fluffy white towels in the bathroom, a tray of snacks and magazines in the bedroom. And be sure to include a home reference binder, too. This essential should include any need-to-know info about your space (like the wifi password), plus local maps and phone numbers.

Design Tip: A tray makes anything look more special! Use one to corral small items like snacks, spare toiletries, or coffee-making items.

Rugs for Airbnb

Rug Shopping Guide (clockwise from top left): Loloi Rugs Justina Blakeney Kahelo in black and ivory; Safavieh Kilim in navy; Momeni Laguna in black; Safavieh Kilim in blue and purple.

Photo Credits: Airbnb

For more inspiration from Laura, follow along with her at LauraGaskill.com!

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How to Use Rugs in Small Spaces

Mademoiselle Claudine
Mademoiselle Claudine

There’s an argument to be made that when you’re living in a small space, whether out of choice or necessity, that it’s even more important to hone in and establish your interior style. Having fewer square feet to work with doesn’t mean you have to compromise on aesthetics, but it does mean you need to make better decisions because every inch of space counts for more. One decor element that can make a huge difference is the right floor rug because it can serve any number of purposes.

If you’re dwelling in a studio, drawing an invisible line between areas of use can get tricky because you want your space to feel as open as possible. Opting for a floor rug that coordinates with the area you’re putting it in is a great place to start. For example, if it’s the living room, bring in some tones from your couch. That’s not saying you have to go super trendy or make a huge statement; sometimes sticking to a more neutral, budget-friendly option is the way to go.

Just laying down a simply designed floor rug can make your place feel instantly more pulled together, particularly if you have a collection of mis-matched home goods. An extra soft rug will add layers of texture and a feeling of homeyness that we can never get enough of. Pro Tip: Think outside of the norm and place your rug vertically rather than horizontally for an unexpected design decision.

Bring an entire space together with one large floor rug that compliments everything from your bed to your sofa, and it will also serve to create a great focal point for your living area. Go with a bold pattern or unexpected rug shape to make a real statement.

Just because you’re short on space doesn’t mean you need to skimp on color! Choose an unexpected hue that gets along with whatever other colors are present for a bit of energy. This is also a great technique for delineating space between bedroom and living room – you’ll spend far less time watching TV from bed. Using a rug with an unusual texture or layering several together is another good way to achieve this separation when using multiple rugs in your small space.

Rugs-Direct-Collage

For more inspiration from Kelly, follow along with her at Design Crush!

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